DISASTROUS/HAZARDOUS ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCE EXPLOITATION: MASS LEAD-POISONING AND MORTALITY OF CHRONICALLY-POOR ARTISANAL GOLD MINERS’ CHILDREN IN NORTHERN NIGERIA
R. INGWE, K. E. OSONWA, I. ANGIATING
ABSTRACT.- Disastrous/hazardous environmental resource exploitation: mass lead-poisoning and mortality of chronically-poor artisanal gold miners’ children in northern Nigeria.The claim that poverty is one of three motivations of the nearly half a decade-long terrorist war waged by Northern Nigeria’s Islamic-sectarians, Boko Haram, call to question the extent to which sociological aspects of the critical social theory -emphasizing participation of various strata of the population in the rational society have been fulfilled in the sub-national region. The presentation of over 90 percent of Nigeria’s population (total: about 170 million) classified as poor (earning/spending less than US$2 a day), vulnerable to socio-economic hazards, -with poverty in northern Nigeria reportedly surpassing levels in the rest of Nigeria’s federation makes questioning of geographers’ political-economic perspectives of critical social theoretical equally urgent. One of many dimensions of this challenge is its indication of Northern Nigeria’s leadership’s failure to seriously apply public resources towards resolving social welfare problems at both central and sub-national regional scales since the attainment of independence in 1960. The recent resort to insurgency represents mistakes of political gladiators during the post-independence era (over 50 years) to properly manage natural resources –including solid minerals in northern Nigeria and the rest of the country. Here, we undertake a discourse of hazards (risks and vulnerabilities) and disasters associated with recent resort of northern Nigeria’s poor to artisanal/unregulated mining of gold in northern Nigerian communities: cases of deleterious consequences (deaths, illnesses, etc.,) of this alternative “livelihood” of coping with socio-economic challenges posed by chronic poverty, unemployment, under-employment, among other adversities in the sub-national region were also highlighted. Government’s failure to properly manage solid minerals industry to ensure regulation capable of ensure that citizens are protected from mass emergencies (poisoning, deaths, etc.) reflects the failure of rationalism’s conditions (participation) in the critical social theory.
Key words: artisanal, mining, northern Nigeria, gold, risks, hazards, socioeconomic
ARTICOLUL IN INTREGIME